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Falling pump prices could fuel best holiday shopping season in years

PHOENIX — Valley economist Jim Rounds with Elliott D. Pollack and Company in Scottsdale says people will be pumping more money into the stores and fewer dollars into their gas tanks this holiday season.

In September, pump prices hovered around $3.35. Now, they are around $2.50 and falling.

“For the next several months it is freeing up people to spend money on other things, which will circulate throughout the local economy and we’re probably going to see additional economic activity in Arizona,” Rounds said.

But Rounds says it all goes beyond cheaper pump prices. People are feeling better about their jobs and the economy overall.

“They’re seeing more jobs being created. Businesses are investing more. It’s all of this stuff coming together at the right time,” he said.

Rounds says the stores are expecting more money in the cash registers and that could have them hiring more workers.

“This will give some people that ordinarily wouldn’t have a job they chance to make a little money and put food on the table.”

Arizona Department of Revenue says September retail sales hit $4.44 billion. The strongest September since 2006 when sales measured $4.3 billion.